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Page last updated at 13:11 GMT, Monday, 10 January 2011

London rower Tom Aggar targets gold medal in 2012

Tom Aggar
Tom Aggar won Gold in Beijing in 2008

Reigning Paralympic and World rowing champion Tom Aggar says he is targeting a gold medal at London 2012.

He won the arms-only single scull at the Paralympics in Beijing, less than two years after taking up the sport.

"[After] getting the experience for what a Games is like, I'm definitely hungrier to compete in London," he told BBC London 94.9.

"If I put in a top performance, I won't be too disheartened, but I'm training for a gold medal," he said.

Aggar, who played rugby with the Saracens youth development squad, started rowing as part of a rehabilitation programme, following an accident in 2005 which left him paralysed.

Its going to be tough for sure, but I'm definitely on track to where I need to be

Tom Aggar

He won his category at the 2006 Indoor Rowing Championships and became world champion in his first season in international competition a year later.

But the 26-year-old remains modest about his achievements.

"It's worked out really well, I've been quite fortunate to have a good string of results."

The Royal Docks Rowing Club member knows he will have to remain at his best in the run up to the London Games and expects some stiff competition from his teammates.

"You can really get the sense that expectation is building towards the Games and definitely the next 18 months will be head down and making sure we're in the best possible shape.

"Even just to guarantee yourself a place in the squad, they keep the standards really high," he said.

"Its going to be tough for sure, but I'm definitely on track to where I need to be so it's a matter of keeping my head down and working hard and keep pushing on."

Aggar won gold at the 2010 World Rowing Championships in New Zealand in a time of five minutes 19.36 seconds, 13 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

He says the sport, which only made its Paralympic debut in 2008 has developed in recent years.

"Since the lead in to Beijing and after it has really progressed in terms of its professionalism.

"We train six days a week, two or three sessions a day, we go on training camps two or three times a year."

Aggar, who trains under coach Tom Dyson, admits it can sometimes be difficult having to put rowing ahead of everything else.

"You do have to sacrifice a lot of things; social life and all those sort of things.

"It's tough at times, but there's a huge goal at the end of it and hopefully it will all be worth it," he said.

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